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Witton Albion manager Brian Pritchard says his side is determined to improve their current form
BRIAN Pritchard believes Ashton United are favourites to beat his team in the FA Cup.
The Witton Albion manager, after watching his side lose five of eight league matches in the past month, is grateful though for the distraction of playing in a different competition.
With that comes a contrasting pressure; an exit at the second qualifying round stage last season – after they had led 2-0 at then Premier Division rivals Kendal Town – was one of his tenure’s lowest moments.
“This is a new sensation, as I’m used to winning,” he said.
“I don’t like losing, even more so when I think about how much quality there is in this squad.
“It’s hard being a Witton fan at the moment, not least for what’s happened in the past few weeks. On the pitch, we’ve not lived up to what was probably expected either.
“I’ll say this though; we’ll get it right, and we’re closer to achieving that than our position in the table might suggest.”
The Robins, unbeaten to date, present a formidable challenge on their own pitch; theirs is the best home record in the Northern Premier League’s top flight so far.
It’s a fact not lost on Pritchard.
He added: “We’ll go to Ashton and play as best we can aware that most people are expecting us to lose based on how we’ve started.
“On current form, they’re clear favourites. There’s no pressure of expectation on us, so we’ve got nothing to lose.”
A 3-2 defeat in midweek against another team in form, newly-promoted Skelmersdale United, masks arguably Albion’s best performance of term to date.
Twice they hit the woodwork, and were denied a penalty in the closing stages.
However an error in defence when trailing 2-1 gifted to their guests a third – and ultimately decisive – goal.
Pritchard said: “The players’ attitude [against Skelmersdale] was good; they badly want to get out of the mess they’ve got themselves into.
“To do that, we need to stop giving away goals, and that’s a collective as much as an individual responsibility.
“We’ll stick with it, because the situation we find ourselves in isn’t irreversible.
“We can’t wait to play in the FA Cup, and kick off can’t come quickly enough. Hopefully our fans will turn out in big numbers and help us start putting things right on the pitch.”
Kick off on Saturday is 3pm.
To read a preview of today's FA Cup tie, click here: http://bit.ly/15Xx6He